CONTROVERSIAL plans to turn a Hampshire pub into a late-night convenience store are set to be given the go-ahead next week.
Planning chiefs are being urged to approve proposals to convert the Hampshire Yeoman in Blackfield into a Sainsbury’s Local.
The hotly-debated scheme has split the village – despite the promise of up to 25 jobs.
Some residents support the application, claiming that the Hampshire Yeoman, in Hampton Lane, which has been at the heart of the local community for more than 50 years, is an eyesore and a noise nuisance.
But others say the proposed new store would generate extra traffic, jeopardising the safety of children walking to and from Blackfield Primary School.
New Forest District Council has received 15 letters of objection and four of support.
The application was due to have been discussed by the council’s planning committee last month but was deferred after a late objection from Hampshire County Council, which expressed concern about the safety of the car park.
The applicant has now agreed to reduce the number of parking spaces and provide two new pedestrian routes to Hampton Lane and Blackfield Road.
A report to the November meeting of the committee says that Sainsbury’s does not need planning permission to turn the pub into a shop. However, its proposals to build a single-storey rear extension and install a new front entrance do require consent.
The report describes the new store as a “logical and justifiable” extension to the area’s retail community.
It adds: “Concerns have been raised that the proposal might be a forerunner for a more significant retail development but every proposal must be judged on its merits.”
The pub’s landlord is Richard Clark, who says he will lose his home as well as his job if the application is approved.